Cook still ‘hungry’ for captaincy


Published: Tuesday 16th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Alastair Cook is still hungry to become England’s first World Cup-winning captain despite his team’s chastening 5-2 defeat against Sri Lanka.

Cook accepts the first hurdle he must overcome is to be chosen to lead his country at a selection meeting on Friday.

He is well aware his run of form – described by England and Wales Cricket Board managing director Paul Downton as “miserable” – is sure to be an issue, as too will be a sequence of five successive one-day international series defeats as captain.

Cook oversaw another setback at the Premadasa Stadium, where England lost by 87 runs after Tillakaratne Dilshan (101) underpinned Sri Lanka’s 302 for six.

Only Joe Root (80) provided significant resistance as Dilshan (three for 37) also turned it on with the ball – and England were bowled out in 45.5 overs.

The series was already gone before this final match of seven, once England failed to level it at Pallekele on Saturday.

Even so, there was more disappointment back in Colombo – where Cook took his barren run without an international hundred to 59 attempts in ODIs and Tests.

The opener nonetheless retains his appetite to put things right.

“I’m incredibly hungry to do well,” Cook said.

“Whether the selectors still think I’m the right man, we’ll wait and see in the next couple of days.”

A 16-man squad will be announced on Saturday, initially for the tri-series against hosts Australia and India next month.

If Cook is named as captain, he will take the same players – minus just one name – into the World Cup.

He said: “No one has any divine right to play for England, and my performances this year in the one-day game haven’t been good enough.

“If the decision went that way, then I can’t do too much about it.

“I haven’t scored the runs I’d like to have – and we haven’t won the number of games I’d like to have.

“So if that happens, I can have no complaints.

“But it’s not been for a lack of effort, or (being) willing to try to improve.”

Cook retains faith not just in his own ability but that of a developing team, one which should be bolstered down under by the return from injury of frontline pace bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

“As a leader, you take tough days on the chin and hope people are learning from it – and we can play some better cricket in Australia,” he said.

“I think we can surprise people.

“We’re going to have to play better than we have done here … (but) we’ve got a huge amount of talent in the squad, and I think we’ve made some good strides in certain areas on this tour.

“So there’s no reason why we can’t (win the World Cup) in better conditions for us. We’re just going to have to play better than we did today.”

The emergence of Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan, as pace-bowling options, and Moeen Ali’s potential at the top of the order as an all-rounder, have partially offset England’s difficulties.

Cook said: “I don’t like not seeing a job through – and I see a lot of potential in this team.

“We hope we’ll have Jimmy and Broady back to add some real quality to our bowling attack, and we’ll go there (to Australia) in a good frame (of mind).”

His opposite number Angelo Mathews could reflect on a much-improved campaign from the hosts, after their 5-0 trouncing by India in the previous month.

Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene embarked on a lap of honour in front of an adoring crowd, in the glow of victory after the veteran pair’s last ODI on home soil.

Mathews said: “We’ve all played pretty good cricket in the last couple of weeks.

“After the way we fared in India, we all had to pull our socks up.

“I thought all the boys responded brilliantly.

“Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela, (Lahiru) Thirimanne, (Dinesh) Chandimal… and all the bowlers… they put their hearts out. They really wanted to win this series.”

For Cook, there is precious little to smile about – but he is still prepared to be cautiously optimistic.

“I thought the other game (England’s defeat at the weekend) was worse than today – for me personally,” he added.

“It’s tough when you lose games of cricket and you don’t score runs.

“You can’t hide behind anything. No one has said it’s ever easy – and you know what you’re signing up for.

“It’s a frustration to us all… the longer that number (of innings without a hundred) goes up, the more and more of a worry it is.

“But you do what you always do, work as hard as you can on your game – and back yourself to turn the corner.

“When the floodgates do open, it should be good.”

Published: Tuesday 16th December 2014 by The News Editor

Comments (0)

Local business search